By JULIE BERTRAND
Town of Stettler Council discussed the 2011-2012 Strategic Plan on Tuesday, Feb. 1 and identified priorities to be pursued for the community in the months ahead.
Improvement of health care and continued focus on enhancing indoor sports facilities are the top two priorities, followed by improvement of highway entrances.
Council will also be looking into possibilities for attracting more education facilities to the community, a college or a fire school, and a public institution that could help create jobs and boost the growth of the town. Another area of improvement was identified as enhancement of community events, like public festivities.
“Improving health care continues to be the number one priority of our council,” said Rob Stoutenberg, town CAO.
Councillors would like the town to follow the High River model, where they built a three-story office building for doctors, doctor recruitment and local services near the hospital.
“The High River Council did that in an effort to consolidate the doctors’ offices in close proximity to the hospital so they could better recruit doctors,” said Stoutenberg.
Council will also work on finding an indoor soccer facility. There are already a couple of options and council is looking at working with the Ag society or the schools.
People entering the town through the two highways should soon see news signs announcing Stettler.
Voting for the signs has already begun on the town website and forms are available at the town office and at the Rec Centre.
Council also expressed the intention of upgrading the maintenance of ditches along highways.
On the education front, discussion focused on approaching Olds and Red Deer colleges to explore possibilities for these schools to offer more study programs in Stettler.
With regard to bringing a public institution to town, “They are looking at anything, a prison, could be a training school, could be agricultural research,” said Stoutenberg in reference to the intentions of councilors.
The issue has already been discussed with MP Kevin Sorenson during his visit to the town and Mayor Dick Richards is expected to take up the same topic with MLA Jack Hayden this week.
Finally, councilors also agreed that the annual Art Walk could be expanded to attract more visitors and business to the community.
“We’d certainly like to keep building on the success that we’ve had with Art Walk and the rodeo,” said Stoutenberg.
“Keep the momentum moving and make them as good as possible events as we can. “
“Realistically, we are not going to get to them all this year, but over this council’s term, which is the next three years, we’ll make significant progresses on most of them,” Stoutenberg said.